THOSE WHO RUN IN THE SKY

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Debut Fiction—Juvenile & Ya - HAN­NAH HOHMAN

Aviaq John­ston. Toma Feizo Gas (Il­lus­tra­tor), In­habit Me­dia (AU­GUST), Soft­cover $13.95 (200pp), 978-1-77227-121-8 Inuit cul­ture is pre­sented as com­plex and fas­ci­nat­ing. Those Who Run in the Sky is the heartrend­ing and riv­et­ing story of a young Inuit boy named Pitu, one of the best hunters in his vil­lage with as­pi­ra­tions to be a great leader and shaman. While he is out hunt­ing, a bliz­zard ar­rives, leav­ing Pitu stranded alone with just a few of his sup­plies. But he dis­cov­ers that he is not just lost; he has dis­ap­peared from his own world, into the spirit world.

The crea­tures of the spirit world are malev­o­lent demons in­tent on harm­ing Pitu and those from his world. They can di­rectly at­tack him as a tres­passer in their home. To es­cape the dan­ger­ous world around him and get back home to his fam­ily and Saima, the girl he loves, he must be­come a fullfledged shaman, with a bit­ter and lost old shaman, also trapped in the spirit world, as his only teacher.

The spirit world is chill­ing, in­hab­ited by crea­tures of myth and ter­ror—the stuff of an Inuit’s night­mares. The world around Pitu is bar­ren and sim­ple, a land of flat ice and snow, though the il­lus­tra­tive por­tray­als of spir­its do more than enough to fill in the set­ting and il­lus­trate ev­ery rea­son Pitu has to be afraid. De­scrip­tions of the spir­its are de­tailed, such the qallupil­luq with their bulging eyes and slimy hair, which are si­mul­ta­ne­ously hor­ri­fy­ing and en­thralling.

Though spe­cific tra­di­tions and lifestyles are rarely ex­plained in great de­tail, Those Who Run in the Sky delves into Inuit cul­ture in great depth. The world-build­ing is grip­ping, with history and mythol­ogy blend­ing to­gether. From the cav­a­lier men­tion of tat­toos ap­pear­ing on Saima’s face over time, to the oral his­to­ries of dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters, Inuit cul­ture is pre­sented as com­plex and fas­ci­nat­ing.

Those Who Run in the Sky is a haunt­ing tale, with both Inuit cul­ture and a ghoul­ish spirit world ex­plored in a thrilling and ar­rest­ing man­ner.

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